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Question about Berkeley Review

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by up40loves, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. up40loves

    7+ Year Member

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    I looked at the Berkeley Review Chem book since it gets so much praise here and I thought that the practice passages (specifically the ones on atomic structure) were much harder than the topical test passages that are provided by Kaplan and so I was wondering, is Berkeley Review supposed to be harder? Are real MCAT Chem passages as difficult as Berkeley Review?

    Thanks!
     
  2. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!!
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    Basically, Berk review tries to give you really hard passages to get you prepared for those couple of passages on the real deal that will get you. Also, they are demoralizing at first but I noticed after doing them I started to become a better reasoner of passages. Lastly, they make them hard so that you will read the explanations because they are where alot of the learning comes in. Most people remember things better when they miss them.
     
  3. up40loves

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    The Chem book goes into great detail. Do you think you need to know all that much info? The EK book is more concise.
     
  4. BerkReviewTeach

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    I figured I should probably reply here. Mind you, I'm not sure what the Kaplan materials are like, but I can comment on the BR chemistry materials. For the specific section you are talking about, let's consider the passages.

    • 1. Thomson Experiment and the Millikan Oil Drop Experiment
      Both are main staples of physics classes and are fair game for the MCAT. The questions are (1) What is an assumption of the Mill exp?, (2) What will happen to a beam of neutrons passing through an E field?, (3) How do you explain an atypical value for q?, (4) What did the Thomson exp determine?, (5) In the Mill exp you need to know all of the following EXCEPT:, (6) How do neutron, proton, and electron count vary in an element?, (7) Which two particles would experience the strongest force?, and (8) How do you adjust the E field in the Mill exp to slow a falling oil drop?

    Those all seem like fair questions that one could and should expect in the MCAT. They are conceptual and can be answered by applying fundamental physics and general chemistry.

    The other passages in that section are on a mass spectrophotometer, the Bohr model, Liquid crystals (hard passage), Ion migration, Ionization energy table, Transition metal properties, Glow-in-the-dark materials, Paint pigments, Fluorescence (hard passage), Flame test, Radio labeling and isotopes, and Cold fusion.

    It would seem that all of those topics are pretty typical for the material. there are passages on experiments and practical applications. That would seem to be exactly what you should be studying. A couple passages are hard, a couple are easy, and most are in the middle.

    Maybe this section seems hard because it integrates physics with general chemistry, but that's what the MCAT does in their passages too. Often the passages students find most difficult are ones that mix many different topics.

    Maybe because I've worked from this book for a few years now, I'm out of touch. But I tend to think that's exactly what should be covered and that there is a good balance of easy questions and wtf questions. The MCAT is bound to have a range of difficulties too.

    Hang in there. Just keep plugging away and it will get better. You will be really glad you did come MCAT day, because the MCAT is a thinking test and those questions emphasize thinking more than memorization.

    There is a big difference between detail and integration of multiple subjects. In fact, if you subtract out the mulitple choice questions that are integrated into the text, each chapter is about twelve to fifteen pages. That means there is only about 120 to 150 pages for all of general chemistry. When you consider it that way, that really isn't that much detail at all. It's the basics with a bunch of applications.

    I don't necessarily think that it's detailed, but there are many areas where the passages and some of the text describe how general chemistry interacts with other disciplines (mainly physics). I actually like that electrical circuits and electrophoresis are addressed a little in the electrochemistry section. I also like that acidosis and alkalosis are good examples of gen chem applications in biology. I have learned a lot about other subjects by working from the BR general chemistry book, which I really like (but I'm a science nerd).

    If you are feeling overwhelmed, that's natural at first. But after working your way through the two general chemistry books, you'll have done about 1100 questions and thought a good deal about many subjects that interface with general chemistry.

    Appreciate that it is incorporating many things outside of general chemistry and you'll see just how helpful it will prove to be.
     
  5. J ROD

    J ROD Watch my TAN walk!!
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    To sum it up, BR puts it all together like you will see on the MCAT.

    The passages make you think about it and before you know it you will get it and then can make the connections.

    I struggled at first on the Physics and then I got my brain worked up to speed and then the passages made sense and I learned how to reason better.

    Without realizing it, I became a better pure "thinker".

    The PS materials are great. Now if I just can remember everything, lol!!
     

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